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Someone started up a conversation with me about church music and worship time. He began using the term “annointed”. He also referred to me as “annointed” because I was singing in church. What does that mean exactly, and is it Scriptural?

The term “Annointed” has come into wide use, first from the “word faith” and “charismatic” groups, then into the more fundamental and mainstream churches (which is a common pattern).

In Scripture, “annointed” (when talking about a person) was used to denote someone specifically chosen by God, and clearly identified for a specific purpose, such as King David or King Saul or the Aaronic Priests.

That is why the Bible says “touch not the Lord’s annointed” (1Sam 26.9; 1Chron 16.22). To rebel against, harm or malign these specifically chosen-by-God-leaders, was to go directly against God Himself.

Sadly, that Scripture has been jerked brutally (and self-servingly) from context and brandished at anyone who would dare question the “self-annointed” Christian personalities today, or point out unScriptural teaching/revelation/word-of-knowlege/prophecy and all sorts of silliness we see rampant in the “church” today. It has been heard countless times from well known TV and large-church personalities who have been rebuked for flagrant false teaching. Of course, the smaller local church leaders of the same persuasion then wield the same defense on any individual under their authority who would dare question their authority, decision or teaching.

This is comically strange in light of the Apostle Paul’s commendation of the Bereans whom he praised for searching God’s Word and proving all things, carefully determining if every word he taught them was true according to Scripture (Acts 17.11). A true Bible teacher welcomes scutiny and evaluation of his teaching. Many popular Christian personalities today want no such accountability.

“Touch not the Lord’s annointed” in the Bible came with real consequences when someone rebelled against God’s chosen. It is directly applicable to the Priests, Kings and Prophets of Israel. It has been HIJACKED by parts of modern Christianity as a way to avoid accountability.

The principle of not rebelling against God’s appointed authority is of course applicable in principle today. Those appointed authorities however, are subservient first to the accuracy and support of Scripture in their leadership, teachings and decision. They are NOT above rebuke, correction and confrontation if they are not in line with Scripture.

That describes one very wrong use of the idea of “annointing” that goes on today. With respect to the conversation you describe, the word “annointing” today has also become synonymous with “calling” or “gifted by God” which is not entirely inaccurate in concept, but an unwise use of the word (in my opinion) because 1) Scripture doesn’t use it in that manner, and 2) given the problem described above, it gives the “annointed” person the idea in many cases that they are above questioning, rebuke or counsel because THEY are “annointed”.

In the long run, it’s always best to stick with the Scriptural use of terms despite how “social Christianity” or church fads bring on new meaning. “Annointed” in the sense of “chosen” was used in the Old Testament concerning a chosen Priest, King or Prophet (ie, Lev 8.12; Num 3.3; 1Sam 15.17) and the annointing of oil for healing or dedication (ie, Lev. 8.10; Num 7.88). In the New Testament it is used generically to speak of all Christians (ie, 1Cor 1.21), healing (ie, Mark 6.13) and about Jesus (ie, Acts 4.27; Acts 10.38 ).

It is not found in the Bible in the sense that it is commonly and frequently used today, meaning that every person who is a gifted singer in church, or a teacher in Sunday school has been chosen as God’s “annointed” specifically. If that were the case, logically and realistically, where does it stop? The logical conclusion is that every talent, ability and desire becomes “annointed”. Those all can definitely be “consecrated” (dedicated to God), but not “annointed” in the accurate Biblical sense where God specifically chooses an individual and identifies them clearly to the large group such as “this is your new King” or “this is the next High Priest”.

Maybe, very loosely, the term works generically; but again, in my opinion it’s better to use terms specifically the way the Bible does to avoid confusion and misuse.

In your example, it would be more accurate Biblically to say that God has “gifted” you to sing, and in the sense that you have followed His leading to do so, that you have been “called” to sing.